They say .....
- Limited edition 5CD Box Set featuring live FM broadcasts from 1966 to 1970
Best known as the hippie revolutionaries who produced Sixties pop nuggets like "White Rabbit" and "Somebody to Love," Jefferson Airplane survived myriad personnel shifts, including the 1984 departure of founder/guiding light Paul Kantner, several name changes. Over its subsequent years, the band morphed from psychedelic rockers to an MOR pop powerhouse and back again.
At the start, the Jefferson Airplane epitomized the burgeoning Haight-Ashbury culture and provided its soundtrack. The band began in 1965 when singer Marty Balin (b. Martyn Jerel Buchwald, Jan. 30, 1942, Cincinnati, OH), formerly with the acoustic group the Town Criers, met guitarist Paul Kantner (b. Mar. 17, 1941, San Francisco, CA) at the Drinking Gourd, a San Francisco club. They were first a folk-rock group, rounded out by lead guitarist Jorma Kaukonen, drummer Skip Spence, singer Signe Anderson, and bassist Bob Harvey , who was soon replaced by Jack Casady. Their first major show was on August 13, christening the Matrix Club, which later became a major outlet for new Bay Area bands. RCA signed the group and Jefferson Airplane Takes Off(Number 128, 1966) went gold.
Anderson left to have a baby and was replaced by Grace Slick (b. Grace Barnett Wing, Oct. 30, 1939, Chicago, IL), a former model and member of the Great Society, a group formed in 1965. The Great Society, which included her husband at the time, Jerry Slick, and brother-in-law Darby, had completed two albums for Columbia that weren't released until after Slick became a star with the Airplane. Spence left the Airplane to form Moby Grape and was replaced by a former jazz drummer, Spencer Dryden (b. Apr. 7, 1944, New York, NY), completing the Airplane's most inventive lineup.
Slick's vocals were stronger and more expressive than Anderson's; she later claimed that she tried to imitate the yowl of the lead guitar. She brought two Great Society songs to the Airplane's second album, Surrealistic Pillow — "Somebody to Love" (Number Five, 1967), co-written by Darby Slick, and her own "White Rabbit" (Number Eight, 1967), which was banned in some areas as a pro-drug song. The album (Number Three, 1967), sold half a million copies. After Bathing at Baxter's(Number 17, 1967) included a nine-minute psychedelic jam-collage, "Spayre Change," and occasioned the group's first battle with RCA over obscene language: The word "shit" was deleted from the lyric sheet. Baxter's had no hit singles and didn't sell well, but the Airplane recouped with the gold Crown of Creation (Number Six, 1968), which included Slick's "Lather" and David Crosby's "Triad," a song about a ménage à trois that had been rejected by Crosby's current group, the Byrds.
The band's ego conflicts already were beginning, however, as Slick stole media attention from Balin (the band's founder), and the songwriting became increasingly divergent. Live, Slick and Balin traded vocals in battles that became increasingly feverish, and the volatile sound of the band in concert was captured on Bless Its Pointed Little Head (Number 17, 1969). By the time the sextet recorded 1969's Volunteers, the Airplane's contract allowed it total "artistic control," which meant that the "Up against the wall, motherfuckers" chorus of "We Can Be Together" appeared intact. The Airplane performed at the Woodstock and Altamont festivals but then had its second major shakeup. Dryden left in 1970 to join the New Riders of the Purple Sage (he was replaced by Joey Covington), and the band stopped touring when Slick became pregnant by Kantner. Anxious to perform, Kaukonen and Casady formed Hot Tuna [see entry] (originally Hot Shit), which later seceded from the Airplane, although, like most band members, they would return.
In the meantime, Kantner and the housebound Slick recorded Blows Against the Empire (Number 20, 1970). Billed as Paul Kantner and Jefferson Starship (the debut of the name), the album featured Jerry Garcia, David Crosby, Graham Nash, and other friends. It became the first musical work nominated for the science-fiction writers' Hugo Award. At the same time, a greatest-hits package entitled The Worst of the Jefferson Airplane (Number 12, 1970) was released. On January 25, 1971, Slick and Kantner's daughter, China, was born; that spring, Balin, who had nothing to do with Blows and contributed only one co-written composition to Volunteers, left. He formed a short-lived band, Bodacious D.F.
In August the Airplane formed its own label, Grunt, distributed by RCA. The band's reunited effort, Bark (Number 11, 1971), saw them with Covington and all of Hot Tuna, including violinist Papa John Creach, who had first performed with Hot Tuna at a Winterland show in 1970. The band had grown apart, though, and Hot Tuna and Kantner-Slick were each writing for their own offshoot projects. In December 1971 Slick and Kantner released Sunfighter (Number 89, 1971) under both their names, with baby China as cover girl. (China grew up to become an MTV VJ and an actor.)
In July 1972 this version of the Airplane recorded its last studio album, Long John Silver (Number 20), with some drumming from ex-Turtle John Barbata. In August 1972 at a free concert in New York's Central Park, the band introduced ex–Quicksilver Messenger Service bassist, keyboardist, and vocalist David Freiberg to the ranks. The Airplane unofficially retired at that point. By that September, Casady and Kaukonen had decided to go full-time with Hot Tuna, though they appeared on the live album Thirty Seconds Over Winterland (Number 52, 1973), which came out in April 1973. Slick, Kantner, and Freiberg recorded Baron Von Tollbooth and the Chrome Nun (Number 120, 1973), one of the band's least popular efforts. Slick's equally disappointing solo debut, Manhole(Number 127), appeared in January 1974. By then, she had developed a serious drinking problem, and the band was hoping that the Tuna players would return. They did not.
Disc 1:Fillmore Auditorium, February 4th, 1967
Somebody To Love
Let Me In
This Is My Life
Plastic Fantastic Lover
She Has Funny Ears
3/5's Of A Mile In 10 Seconds
Somebody To Love
Disc 2:Family Dog at the Great Highway, San Francisco, June 11th 1969
The Other Side of this Life,
Go Ride the Music
Crown Of Creation
The Ballad of You, Me and Pooneil
Eskimo Blue Day
Spurn Point Blues
Disc 3:Utica, New York, 24th, November 1969
Somebody To Love
Uncle Sam Blues
Have You Seen The Saucers
The Other Side Of This Life
Won't You Try/Saturday Afternoon
The Ballad Of You And Me And Pooneil
Disc 4:October 4th, Winterland, San Francisco, 1970
1. Have You Seen the Saucers 6.52
2. Crown of Creation 4.09
3. Somebody to Love 7.03
4. Mexico 2.37
5. Up Or Down 7.29
6. Whatever the Old Man Does 7.20
7. Emergency 5.25
8. Wooden Ships 7.04
9. Bludgeon of a Bluecoat 5.35
10. Greasy Heart 4.46
11. You Wear Your Dresses Too Short 6.53
12. We Can Be Together 5.38
13. Volunteers 5.49
1.It's No Secret
3.Running Round This World
Various Performances broadcast by KSAN from Fillmore Auditorium 1966 & 67
4. 3/5 of a Mile In 10 Seconds (5:12)
5. Runnin' Round (2:36)
6. Somebody To Love (3:07)
7. Today (3:23)
8. Get Together (4:12)
9. Other Side Of This Life (6:50)
10. Fat Angel (6:58)
11.Go To Her (4:21)
12.She Has Funny Cars (3:35)
13. Interviews various locations